First I must thank you all for such a wonderful repository of information. You have built an amazing community and should be very proud.
I moved to the US in 2007, and left some debt behind. It was a difficult time and I was in turmoil about this debt. Then I discovered this site and learnt that there was essentially nothing they could do. I put that part of my life behind me and forgot about it.
Earlier this week I received a letter from a lawyer containing a motion for an issuance of a new Capias. I had no idea what this was so called, and then went to the courthouse to obtain a copy of the file. It turns out that this lawyer had obtained a judgement by default against me in 2011. The documents had been served to an apartment i moved out of in 2007. I had no idea of the existence of this case until this week. Crazily enough, this seems to be perfectly proper service in the US. I have been living my life quite happily for the last 2 years without knowing that I had a civil arrest warrant out on me.
Obviously this court has no jurisdiction over the matter and I will seek to have the default judgement vacated. I will then seek damages via the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. I realise this forum may not be the best place for these US-centric questions. I will also pose them to your revolutionary brothers at http://www.debtorboards.com However I would appreciate any input you could give.
1. What is the likelihood that HSBC is the actual Plaintiff? Wouldn't the debt have been sold off long ago? This lawyer is a bottom feeding sole trader ambulance chaser. I find it hard to believe he has been engaged by HSBC.
2. The complaint is for a fanciful sum in US Dollars. Is this Kosher? Can a debt in one currency be arbitrarily converted to another? Or is this a fraud designed to deceive the court?
3. In what order do I properly deal with this? Attend Capias hearing first and then file a motion to vacate? Or should I file a motion to vacate now with the same hearing date as the Capias hearing?
4. I intend to make some money from this scumbags sloppiness. Am I required to offer my full defense in the motion to vacate? Can I move to vacate solely on the grounds of not having been served, and then let him dig a deeper hole for himself in subsequent proceedings? Or does doing this mean I will have assented to the courts jurisdiction?
5. If #4 is a bad idea can I file a motion to vacate with prejudice? How likely is this to be granted?
6. What's the likelihood of a crazy American judge ignoring jurisdiction?
7. Will this judgement have been recorded on my credit reports? I have applied for my reports but the credit reporting agencies seen to not know who I am. I have never applied for credit in the US. If this judgement has been reported, is this a breach of the data protection act?
8. This debt will be statute barred in about 2 months and I'm feeling litigious. What can I do to punch HSBC in the nose? It seems to me that if HSBC is really the plaintiff then it is a UK company attempting to fraudulently use the US courts to bully and intimidate the counter-party in a UK contract. How do I monetize this naughtiness? LIBOR is still fresh on everyone's minds...
I'm sure I have a million more questions but I am still working to educate myself on the intricacies of US law.
Any advice you could offer would be most gratefully received!